Nearly 3,000 elementary
students in schools across Butler and Lowndes counties
experienced birds of prey on a personal level when a van full of raptors
visited their school. The Alabama Cooperative Extension's 4-H and other local
sponsors brought the Coosa
River School of Science birds of prey program, called Raptor Trek, to nine
elementary schools to teach students about raptors and the importance of
preserving their habitats.
Regional Extension Agent,
Carla Elston says she wanted to bring the Raptor Trek to Butler and Lowndes
counties to help promote the appreciation and understanding of raptors to
Experiencing falcons, hawks,
owls and bald eagles up-close and personally is not a typical classroom
experience," Elston says. "By providing educational awareness about the
raptors, protective laws and preservation of their habitat, our youth
understood the importance of environmental conservation and sustainability to
promote a healthier ecological system for the birds of prey."
Raptor Trek Program
Coordinator Becky Collier travels across Alabama with six raptors and five
trained team members to give students an opportunity to interact with raptors.
The school programs lasted
for approximately an hour. Raptor Trek members spent time with students
teaching them about the large birds as a group, but students were also given
opportunities to encounter the birds on a sensory level. The raptors in the
program are accustomed to humans and made it easy for the students to observe every detail of feathers and talons from inches away–something
that most students would never have the opportunity to do.
Elston says the opportunity
to interact closely with the raptors was a mutually beneficial experience for
students and the birds of prey.
"Being able to see the
majestic size and beauty of the raptors provided a lasting effect that
instilled admiration for the birds in the students," Elston says. "The Raptor
Trek presentation provided visual learning that will help reinforce the lessons
taught within the classroom."
For more information about
Raptor Trek or to schedule a trip, visit The Coosa River Science
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